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Travel Guide 2   >   Europe   >   Italy   >   History

   
 

Italian History


Here are some books about the history of Italy:


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Books about Italian History


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The Pursuit of Italy: A History of a Land, Its Regions, and Their Peoples

By David Gilmour

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Released: 2012-11-13
Paperback (480 pages)

The Pursuit of Italy: A History of a Land, Its Regions, and Their Peoples
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Product Description:

A provocative, entertaining account of Italy's diverse riches, its hopes and dreams, its past and present

Did Garibaldi do Italy a disservice when he helped its disparate parts achieve unity? Was the goal of political unification a mistake? The question is asked and answered in a number of ways in The Pursuit of Italy, an engaging, original consideration of the many histories that contribute to the brilliance―and weakness―of Italy today.

David Gilmour's wonderfully readable exploration of Italian life over the centuries is filled with provocative anecdotes as well as personal observations, and is peopled by the great figures of the Italian past―from Cicero and Virgil to the controversial politicians of the twentieth century. His wise account of the Risorgimento debunks the nationalistic myths that surround it, though he paints a sympathetic portrait of Giuseppe Verdi, a beloved hero of the era.

Gilmour shows that the glory of Italy has always lain in its regions, with their distinctive art, civic cultures, identities, and cuisines. Italy's inhabitants identified themselves not as Italians but as Tuscans and Venetians, Sicilians and Lombards, Neapolitans and Genoese. Italy's strength and culture still come from its regions rather than from its misconceived, mishandled notion of a unified nation.

A Concise History of Italy (Cambridge Concise Histories)

By Christopher Duggan

Cambridge University Press
Released: 2014-01-20
Paperback (360 pages)

A Concise History of Italy (Cambridge Concise Histories)
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  • Cambridge University Press
Product Description:
Since its formation in 1861, Italy has struggled to develop an effective political system and a secure sense of national identity. This new edition of Christopher Duggan's acclaimed introduction charts the country's history from the fall of the Roman Empire in the west to the present day and surveys the difficulties Italy has faced during the last two centuries in forging a nation state. Duggan successfully weaves together political, economic, social and cultural history, and stresses the alternation between materialist and idealist programmes for forging a nation state. This second edition has been thoroughly revised and updated to offer increased coverage of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Italy, as well as a new section devoted to Italy in the twenty-first century. With a new, extensive bibliographical essay and a detailed chronology, this is the ideal resource for those seeking an authoritative and comprehensive introduction to Italian history.

Italy: A History

By Vincent Cronin

Released: 2015-11-24
Kindle Edition (266 pages)

Italy: A History
 
Product Description:
Here, from New York Times bestselling historian Vincent Cronin, is the extraordinary story of Italy - from the birth of the Roman Empire to the rise of the city-states through the Renaissance and the making of modern Italy.

La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy

By The Italian Academy of Cuisine

Brand: Rizzoli
Released: 2009-10-20
Hardcover (928 pages)

La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy
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  • Rizzoli
Product Description:
Fifty years ago, a group of Italian scholars gathered to discuss a problem: how to preserve traditional Italian cooking. They formed the Italian Academy of Cuisine to document classic recipes from every region. The academy’s more than seven thousand associates spread out to villages everywhere, interviewing grandmothers and farmers at their stoves, transcribing their recipes—many of which had never been documented before. This is the culmination of that research, an astounding feat—2,000 recipes that represent the patrimony of Italian country cooking. Each recipe is labeled with its region of origin, and it’s not just the ingredients but also the techniques that change with the geography. Sprinkled throughout are historical recipes that provide fascinating views into the folk culture of the past. There are no fancy flourishes here, and no shortcuts; this is true salt-of-the-earth cooking. The book is an excellent everyday source for easily achievable recipes, with such simple dishes as White Bean and Escarole Soup, Polenta with Tomato Sauce, and Chicken with Lemon and Capers. For ease of use there are four different indexes. La Cucina is an essential reference for every cook’s library.

Italian Cuisine: A Cultural History (Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History)

By Alberto Capatti

imusti
Released: 2003-10-08
Hardcover (400 pages)

Italian Cuisine: A Cultural History (Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History)
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  • Columbia University Press
Product Description:
Italy, the country with a hundred cities and a thousand bell towers, is also the country with a hundred cuisines and a thousand recipes. Its great variety of culinary practices reflects a history long dominated by regionalism and political division, and has led to the common conception of Italian food as a mosaic of regional customs rather than a single tradition. Nonetheless, this magnificent new book demonstrates the development of a distinctive, unified culinary tradition throughout the Italian peninsula.

Alberto Capatti and Massimo Montanari uncover a network of culinary customs, food lore, and cooking practices, dating back as far as the Middle Ages, that are identifiably Italian:

o Italians used forks 300 years before other Europeans, possibly because they were needed to handle pasta, which is slippery and dangerously hot.

o Italians invented the practice of chilling drinks and may have invented ice cream.

o Italian culinary practice influenced the rest of Europe to place more emphasis on vegetables and less on meat.

o Salad was a distinctive aspect of the Italian meal as early as the sixteenth century.

The authors focus on culinary developments in the late medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque eras, aided by a wealth of cookbooks produced throughout the early modern period. They show how Italy's culinary identities emerged over the course of the centuries through an exchange of information and techniques among geographical regions and social classes. Though temporally, spatially, and socially diverse, these cuisines refer to a common experience that can be described as Italian. Thematically organized around key issues in culinary history and beautifully illustrated, Italian Cuisine is a rich history of the ingredients, dishes, techniques, and social customs behind the Italian food we know and love today.

Painting and Experience in Fifteenth-Century Italy: A Primer in the Social History of Pictorial Style (Oxford Paperbacks)

By Michael Baxandall

imusti
Paperback (192 pages)

Painting and Experience in Fifteenth-Century Italy: A Primer in the Social History of Pictorial Style (Oxford Paperbacks)
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  • Oxford University Press USA
Product Description:
Serving as both an introduction to fifteenth-century Italian painting and as a text on how to interpret social history from the style of pictures in a given historical period, this new edition to Baxandall's pre-eminent scholarly volume examines early Renaissance painting, and explains how the style of painting in any society reflects the visual skills and habits that evolve out of daily life. Renaissance painting, for example, mirrors the experience of such activities as preaching, dancing, and gauging barrels. The volume includes discussions of a wide variety of painters, including Filippo Lippi, Fra Angelico, Stefano di Giovanni, Sandro Botticelli, Masaccio, Luca Signorelli, Boccaccio, and countless others. Baxandall also defines and illustrates sixteen concepts used by a contemporary critic of painting, thereby assembling the basic equipment needed to explore fifteenth-century art.
This new second edition includes an appendix that lists the original Latin and Italian texts referred to throughout the book, providing the reader with all the relevant, authentic sources. It also contains an updated bibliography and a new reproduction of a recently restored painting which replaces the original.

Mercenaries and their Masters: Warfare in Renaissance Italy

By Michael Mallett

Pen and Sword Military
Released: 2009-08-19
Kindle Edition (304 pages)

Mercenaries and their Masters: Warfare in Renaissance Italy
 
Product Description:
Michael Mallett’s classic study of Renaissance warfare in Italy is as relevant today as it was when it was first published a generation ago. His lucid account of the age of the condottieri - the mercenary captains of fortune - and of the soldiers who fought under them is set in the wider context of the Italian society of the time and of the warring city-states who employed them. A fascinating picture emerges of the mercenaries themselves, of their commanders and their campaigns, but also of the way in which war was organized and practiced in the Renaissance world.

The book concentrates on the fifteenth century, a confused period of turbulence and transition when standing armies were formed in Italy and more modern types of military organization took hold across Europe. But it also looks back to the middle ages and the fourteenth century, and forward to the Italian wars of the sixteenth century when foreign armies disputed the European balance of power on Italian soil.

Michael Mallett’s pioneering study, which embodies much scholarly research into this neglected, often misunderstood subject, is essential reading for any one who is keen to understand the history of warfare in the late medieval period and the Renaissance.

The Italians

By John Hooper

Penguin Group USA
Released: 2016-01-19
Paperback (336 pages)

The Italians
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  • Penguin Group USA
Product Description:
Washington Post bestseller
Los Angeles Times bestseller

A vivid and surprising portrait of the Italian people from an admired foreign correspondent


How did a nation that spawned the Renaissance also produce the Mafia? And why does Italian have twelve words for coat hanger but none for hangover?
 
John Hooper’s entertaining and perceptive new book is the ideal companion for anyone seeking to understand contemporary Italy and the unique character of the Italians. Fifteen years as a foreign correspondent based in Rome have sharpened Hooper’s observations, and he looks at the facts that lie behind the stereotypes, shedding new light on everything from the Italians’ bewildering politics to their love of life and beauty. Hooper persuasively demonstrates the impact of geography, history, and tradition on many aspects of Italian life, including football and Freemasonry, sex, food, and opera. Brimming with the kind of fascinating—and often hilarious—insights unavailable in guidebooks, The Italians will surprise even the most die-hard Italophile.


From the Hardcover edition.

Italian Food (Penguin Classics)

By Elizabeth David

Penguin Classics
Released: 1999-02-01
Kindle Edition (333 pages)

Italian Food (Penguin Classics)
 
Product Description:
Elizabeth David's Italian Food was one of the first books to demonstrate the enormous range of Italy's regional cooking. For the foods of Italy, explained David, expanded far beyond minestrone and ravioli, to the complex traditions of Tuscany, Sicily, Lombardy, Umbria, and many other regions. David imparts her knowledge from her many years in Italy, exploring, researching, tasting and testing dishes. Her passion for real food, luscious, hearty, fresh, and totally authentic, will inspire anyone who wishes to recreate the abundant and highly unique regional dishes of Italy.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Murder In Matera: A True Story of Passion, Family, and Forgiveness in Southern Italy

By Helene Stapinski

Dey Street Books
Released: 2017-05-23
Kindle Edition (312 pages)

Murder In Matera: A True Story of Passion, Family, and Forgiveness in Southern Italy
 
Product Description:

“A murder mystery, a model of investigative reporting, a celebration of the fierce bonds that hold families together through tragedies…Murder in Matera is a gem.” San Francisco Chronicle

"Tantalizing" NPR

“A thrilling detective story… Stapinski pursues the study of her family’s criminal genealogy with unexpected emotional results.” — Library Journal

A writer goes deep into the heart of Italy to unravel a century-old family mystery in this spellbinding memoir that blends the suspenseful twists of Making a Murderer and the emotional insight of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels.

Since childhood, Helene Stapinski heard lurid tales about her great-great-grandmother, Vita. In Southern Italy, she was a loose woman who had murdered someone. Immigrating to America with three children, she lost one along the way. Helene’s youthful obsession with Vita deepened as she grew up, eventually propelling the journalist to Italy, where, with her own children in tow, she pursued the story, determined to set the record straight.

Finding answers would take Helene ten years and numerous trips to Basilicata, the rural "instep" of Italy’s boot—a mountainous land rife with criminals, superstitions, old-world customs, and desperate poverty. Though false leads sent her down blind alleys, Helene’s dogged search, aided by a few lucky—even miraculous—breaks and a group of colorful local characters, led her to the truth.

Yes, the family tales she’d heard were true: There had been a murder in Helene’s family, a killing that roiled 1870s Italy. But the identities of the killer and victim weren’t who she thought they were. In revisiting events that happened more than a century before, Helene came to another stunning realization—she wasn’t who she thought she was, either.

Weaving Helene’s own story of discovery with the tragic tale of Vita’s life, Murder in Matera is a literary whodunit and a moving tale of self-discovery that brings into focus a long ago tragedy in a little-known region remarkable for its stunning sunny beauty and dark buried secrets.



 
 
 

 
 
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